Combined BS/MS Program

Since 2008, the Department has offered a combined BS/MS degree program to enable talented students to earn both a BS and an MS, both in Computer Science, within a shorter period than earning the degrees separately, typically 5 years.

Students in this program must satisfy all standard requirements for both the Computer Science BS and MS degrees; however, students admitted as Combined BS/MS may use up to 9 credits that were taken while enrolled as an undergraduate toward both degrees. Students applying for the program should familiarize themselves with the MS degree requirements, found in our graduate policy manual.

* Only courses in CMSC, AMSC/MATH/STAT are eligible for double-counting.

Eligibility

Interested students must meet the following criteria before their application can undergo a holistic review:

  • Hold a major in Computer Science at UMD; double majors are acceptable, however, students from non-CS majors are ineligible
  • Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 *
  • Have completed a minimum of 90 credits prior to application
    • Possess no more than 30 remaining credits of CMSC courses for the B.S. degree
    • Have no more than six credits of General Education requirements left to complete for the B.S. degree
  • At the time of application, be within two to three semesters away from their undergraduate graduation
  • Have engaged/initiated research activities under the supervision of a member of the graduate faculty
  • Have obtained a recommendation letter from that faculty member stating they and agree to advise the student during their M.S. program
  • Submit a CV detailing relevant experience and qualifications

* Note: If your GPA is marginally below the required threshold (e.g 3.48) but you anticipate it will meet or exceed this by the admission deadline, you may initiate the application process; however, the CS Graduate Office will only proceed with your application when your GPA achieves the requisite 3.5 minimum. Those who do not meet this requirement are welcome to apply to the non-combined M.S. program or any professional Masters programs.

Your Combined BS/MS Degree Journey

Step 1: Research Graduate Programs. As you approach two or three semesters away from graduation, begin your exploration of the graduate school process. Start reviewing UMD CS graduate degree requirements and plan your CS coursework. You will need to take three 400-level CMSC classes in a semester to submit your to Combined BS/MS form. Also consider diving into research opportunities to strengthen your applications.

Step 2: Complete Your Dual BS/MS Coursework. You will need to register for the three 400-level CMSC courses that will be used towards your undergraduate and graduate degrees*. Submit the Combined Bachelor's/Master's degree form using the provided form link to the CS Graduate Office. Upon approval, the office will secure the necessary signatures and inform you upon forwarding the approved forms to the Graduate School.

Step 3: Receive Graduate School Approval. After the Graduate School reviews and approves your form, you will be able to proceed to the standard online graduate application.

Step 4: Apply To The CS Graduate Program. Apply via the standard online graduate application and submit your BS/MS Program Application (further details on admission application and deadlines are available here). You must apply for the CS Graduate program in a fall semester (either third-to-last or second-to-last semester) to start in the subsequent spring or fall semesters. After completing the Demographics section, navigate to the "Educational Intent" part of the application. Under "Level of Study", choose "Combined Bachelor's-Master's".

Step 5: Bachelor's Program Graduation! You must graduate in the semester you indicated on your graduate application. Please see the "Commencement Delays" section for more information.

Step 6: After Being Admitted To The CS Graduate Program:

  • By your 2nd semester or in the term you are planning to graduate, submit the UMD Graduate School Inclusion Form. This step ensures that the double-counted credits you earned are officially recognized and applied to your Master's degree.
    • Combined BS/MS Form: Allows certain credits to be double-counted in your bachelor's and master's program
    • Graduate School Inclusion Form: Ensures the double-counted credits are recognized and counted towards your degree

Step 7: Master's Program Graduation! Once everything is in place and you have met all requirements, celebrate the achievement of your Master's degree.

* Note: The Graduate School cannot retroactively approve courses for BS/MS credit, so courses that will be double counted for the BS/MS program must be taken in the same term. This may create complications if students cannot register for a third 400-level CS course; however, students may be able to utilize a suitable 400-level AMSC/MATH/STAT substitute.

Key Points to Remember:

  • You won't have the ability to choose the "Combined Bachelor's-Master's" option under "Level of Study" until the Graduate School approves your Combined BS/MS form.
  • You must apply for the term that immediately follows your completion of the bachelor's degree. For example, if you plan to graduate with your Bachelor of Science (BS) in Spring 2025, and start your graduate program in Fall 2025, you should submit your graduate application for the CS graduate program (via the combined BS/MS program under the "Educational Intent" section) in Fall 2024.

For admission deadlines, see the Prospective Student pagee

Combined BS/MS form and Graduate Application Submission Windows

Summary: in your third-to-last or second-to-last semester, register for three 400-level CMSC courses and submit the Combined BS/MS form to the CS Graduate Office. Once approved by UMD's Graduate Office, you may submit a graduation application. Please see the charts below for clarification.

  • Spring Term Submission Windows:
    • Start Date: After the schedule adjustment period
    • End Date: One week before the semester ends

  • Fall Term Submission Windows:
    • Start Date: After the schedule adjustment period
    • End Date: One week before the semester ends
    • For students applying for Spring term admission, be aware that the application cut-off is one week before the Spring term admission application deadline. For the current academic year, this deadline is September 29th.

* Schedule adjustment period

* Note: You may submit your Combined BS/MS form in either the spring or fall semester, but you can only submit a graduate application in the fall semester. If you plan to graduate in a spring semester, please ensure that your Combined BS/MS form is submitted and approved in a previous spring or fall semester before applying to the graduate program in your last fall semester.


Guidelines & Regulations

Course Selection

  • The Combined form can only be used for courses in the current semester. Courses from previous semesters will not be approved retroactively.  Please plan to take
  • Changes to courses on your Combined BS/MS form for dual credit are final. You cannot revise them later.
  • You must take three 400-level CMSC courses in a single term to use towards your combined BS/MS program. However, students may be able to utilize a suitable 400-level AMSC/MATH/STAT substitute. Please reach out to your assigned academic advisor to discuss your academic plan before you reach the third-to-last semester in your degre. 
    • Based on these requirements, please adhere to the following guidelines:
      1. List only the courses in which you are currently enrolled on the Combined BS/MS form
      2. The Combined BS/MS form submission window is opened only after the schedule adjustment period to mitigate issues related to form revisions.
      3. Typically, students list two 400-level CMSC courses (three if approved) and one additional 400-level or higher course from MATH, STAT, AMSC etc.
  • Fall Graduates only: students in their final semester who intend to apply for the Combined BS/MS program may still proceed with their applications; however, they are restricted to listing only those CMSC or AMST/MATH/STAT courses for which they are registered in in their final semester.
  • Taking 9 double-counted credits doesn't assure MS completion within one year post-BS. Before the start of your final year, please reach out to your assigned academic advisor about the option of enrolling in a 400- or 600-800-level CMSC or /AMSC/MATH/STAT course for graduate credit only. If approved, you'll need to complete a Graduate Credit Permission form. Your assigned academic advisor will provide further details on this process.

Application Limitations

  • Students rejected from the dual Bachelor's/Master's program can only apply for the traditional Master of Science in future application cycles.

Deferments & Leaves

  • Admitted students cannot defer their Master's program start. Students may request a Leave of Absence in their first year in the Master's program. The only reasons combined B/M students may take a semester/year off immediately after earning the bachelor's degree are: childbirth, adoption, serious health condition, caring for incapacitated dependents, financial hardship, and military service (i.e., allowed reasons under the Graduate School's Leave of Absence policy).

Commencement Delays

  • If students don't start their Master's program immediately after finishing their Bachelor's degree, any credits that were set to count for both degrees will only apply to the Bachelor's degree. The Combined BS/MS Form cannot be approved retroactively once the student has entered graduate studies.